Worcester Connects (Worcester County FY20 and Beyond) Annual

Story Behind the Curve

Like many programs, Worcester Connects was impacted by the Mid-March COVID-19 State of Emergency shut-down. The Worcester Connects program vendor, Worcester Youth and Family, was unable to meet face to face with mentees and mentors; and mentors were unable to meet face to face with mentees. Virtual outreach, meetings and trainings were still conducted, but the inability to meet face to face with youth hindered their enrollment.

 

Worcester Connects is a new program for FY2020. During the NOFA planning process for programs in FY20, the Board of Directors voted to put all programs funded by the LMB out for bid through the RFP process. Worcester County LMB is a branch with in the Worcester County Government, and therefore, must abide by the policies and procedures related to procurement. Once funds were approved and allocated for FY20, the LMB released the RFP for the Worcester Connects program on July 2, 2019. Interested program vendors were asked to submit their proposal to Worcester County Administration on August 12, 2019. Third party evaluators reviewed each proposal on August 19, 2019. On September 3, 2019, with the support of the Board of Directors, the LMB Staff presented who the chosen vendors were to the Worcester County Commissioners. Selected program vendors were notified on September 6, 2019, and were expected to be ready to implement the program on October 11, 2019.

 

Worcester Youth and Family was the chosen vendor to provide the Worcester Connects program in Worcester County. They began to develop their program once notified in September. The Worcester Connects program is a mentoring program based on the Check and Connect program model. The program serves youth in grades 6-12, who are at high risk for truancy and bullying. Worcester Connects provides a comprehensive screening, including utilizing the BERs Scale to track improvement in school functioning and intrapersonal strength.

 

Worcester Connects also utilizes volunteer mentors to provide mentoring services to the mentees. The volunteers undergo background checks and trainings in order to ensure that they are a good fit for mentees.

 

Worcester Youth and Family, and the Worcester Connects program developed a robust and specifically targeted outreach plan for not only youth but volunteers as well. 

A flyer, brochure and facts sheet was developed for Worcester Connects and was used in promotional and recruitment events throughout Worcester County. There were 15 outreach meetings/events held in various locations, including the schools, faith based organizations, recreational halls and state agencies.

 

Additionally, Worcester Youth and Family also promoted the Worcester Connects program through their monthly newsletter, which is sent to the area Chambers of Commerce, businesses, patrons, and partners.

Action Plan

In FY2021, the Worcester County LMB will work closely with program providers to develop continuity of service plan. This plan will be impactful and crucial for those vendors that are unable to meet face to face with children, youth and families. It is evident within the performance measures and program narratives that COVID-19 and teleworking has had an large impact on the way that services were delivered. This continuity plan will be required by all vendors.

 

Worcester Youth and Family will continue to provide outreach throughout the county. They will also look into promotion of the program in more non- traditional ways, including social media, radio and TV. 

 

Additionally, the LMB will continue to link partners and agencies to Worcester Connects through resource development, meetings, and event tabling. 

 

In January, Worcester Youth and Family will host and record a “Training Night” for interested mentors. This will be able to be utilized through their website and YouTube to educate the public about the program.

Program Summary

This program will provide youth, grades 6-12, with a supportive and positive mentor/role model. The mentor service is designed to be a hybrid of 1:1 mentoring services as well as group mentoring to allow mentees to engender a sense of membership with their peers. This program will be based upon the Check and Connect mentoring program which promotes increased self-esteem, confidence and improve overall health and wellness.

Target Population

Youth between the grades of 6-12 that are truant, at risk for truancy, those that are in low poverty income areas (Pocomoke, Berlin, Snow Hill) and youth who are being bullied/harassed.

Measures
Time
Period
Current Actual Value
Current Target Value
Current
Trend
Baseline
% Change
PM
FY 2021
7
1
-42%
PM
FY 2021
14
1
1300%
Scorecard Result Container Indicator Measure Action Actual Value Target Value Tag S R I P PM A m/d/yy m/d/yyyy